Concern raised over shop owners’ treatment of ni-Vanuatu employees

A group of Ni-Vanuatu employees have come forward to express their concerns over the attitudes of shop owners that employ them. They alleged that the shop owners who are of Asian origin, treat them with disrespectful languages.

The employees who are all female, alleged that their employer who is female, shouts and scowls at them many times in front of Ni-Vanuatu customers, almost every day. They say this has caused embarrassment to them.

“It makes us feel inferior in front of our own families and Ni-Vanuatu people. It makes us feel ashamed and as if we are uneducated and cannot carry out our work responsibly, when we in fact do our jobs well,” one of the employees told the Daily Post.

“For example, one morning we (Ni-Vanuatu employees) begin to organize our routine duties when the customers started coming in. Our boss, the female employer, was frustrated over a minor issue, turned to us the Ni-Vanuatu employees and started shouting and scowling at us. It came to the point that we wanted to leave, but remained calm as we thought of our own families and to keep our jobs,’ one of the female employee expressed.

She said such attitudes by the Asian employer has happened to them many times before.

“We will take our concerns to the Labour Department and the minister for Internal Affairs and the Trade Unions. But before that we want to let the people of Vanuatu know through the Daily Post media, as we believe it will make the government realize that despite being independent, many of us employees are still treated badly,” she said.

The employees asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing their jobs.

The employees of the shop also revealed that female employees in some shops owned by owners of Asian origin also received similar treatment by their employers but are afraid of coming forward for possibility of losing their jobs.

“I myself was shouted at and scowled at to the point where I was almost in tears in front of the Ni-Vanuatu shoppers.

“At one particular time, a mother and her children looked at me and almost cried too, and one furious man looked sternly at my boss and my boss stopped shouting at me,” a female employee related to the Daily Post.

Two female employees who spoke to the Daily Post alleged that the employers shout and scowled at them mostly in the morning when the shop opens for business.

“This is a peak time when customers fill the shop to buy bread and groceries when the boss shouts and scowled at us and so we feel embarrassed, humiliated in front of our people and families of Vanuatu,” another female employee related to the Daily Post.

Commenting on the issue, the Commissioner of Labour Murielle Metsan, encouraged the women employees to lodge a formal complaint with the Department of Labour. She said the employees are protected under the Labour Laws and must no be afraid to come forward and lodge formal complaints with the Labour Department.

“Employees or workers must not be afraid to report ill-treatments by the employers. The workers are protected under section 50 (2) © of the Employment Act,” Labour Commissioner pointed out.

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